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Increases continue for 29th straight month in new ISM report

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Economic activity associated with the manufacturing sector in the United States saw an expansion for the 29th straight month in May 2015, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report on Business that was recently released. The report, which was issued by chair of the Institute for Supply Management Bradley J. Holcomb, also indicated that the overall economy in the country grew for the 72nd straight month during the same period of time.

According to the report, the PMI in May came in at 52.8 percent. This represented an increase of a full 1.3 percentage points from the number for April, which was 51.5 percent. The New Orders Index also registered an increase, growing from the 53.5 percent that is registered in April to 55.8 percent in May. The Production Index, on the other hand, registered at 1.5 points below its April reading of 56 percent. The Production Index came it at 54.5 percent.

Out of the 18 different industries in the manufacturing sector that were a part of this report, a full 15 of them reported growth for the period ending in May 2015. These industries include but are not limited to Apparel, Leather & Allied Products, Beverage & Tobacco Products, Electrical Equipment, Transportation Equipment, Machinery, Chemical Products and more. The only two industries that reported any type of contraction during this period were Computer & Electronic Products and Textile Mills.

According to respondents in the Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products industry, an economy that is showing significant signs of improvement directly contributed to the expansion that they're now taking part in. Fabricated Metal Products respondents indicated that the automotive industry is still strong, but steel prices have dropped due to both the strong United States dollar and overcapacity issues. Transportation Equipment respondents indicated that overall business was steady, thanks in large part to a general increase in employment during the last several months.

The news was not uniformly positive, however. Computer & Electronic Products respondents indicated that the exchange rate on the United States dollar was hurting the industry's sales in Asia. The conversion rate is also lowering sales in Europe.

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